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Thursday, 07 December 2017 19:22

SLEDDING, SKIING & SLEIGHING? Ask Scott: What's the difference?

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Q. What is the difference between "sledding" and "skiiing"? Are they the same in Chinese?   -- Kevin from Yangzhou, China


A. Great question! This is one of those tricky areas, where Chinese has one word for something, but English has two or more. Other examples include shade/shadow; expect/look forward to (see item #16); and look/watch/see/read (see item #1). 


Sledding and skiing are both translated as 滑雪 (Huáxuě) in Chinese. They are similar in that, yes, you are going down a snowy hill for fun. However, there are some big differences


SKIING is where you stand on two slats, or boards, called skiis and go down a hill or mountain. (Well, I had a remarkable British friend in Taiwan, Jim, who had only one leg, and thus skiied on one ski in Colorado.) Skiing can be just for fun, but it can also be a serious, competitive sport; it is a famous event in the Winter Olympics. Because you usually ski a long distance down a mountain, people usually ski at a ski resort, where you go down a set course and ride a chairlift back up again. Since skiiling is done at a resort and requires specialized equipment and lift tickets, it is an expensive sport. Also, since skiiing is usually fast and ski slopes are crowded, skiiing can be dangerous, sometimes fatal, as in the sad case of a member of the famous Kennedy family. 


Since skiing requires extended cold weather and steep mountains, popular skiing areas in the US are New England, Northern California, Colorado, and Utah. Even though West Virginia and Western Virginia are in the Southern US, they have pretty high mountains and some ski resorts here too, like Wintergreen Resort


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Cross-country skiing is an exercise also done on skiis, but in this case, you usually ski through the woods, not down a commercial slope. Since you have to climb hills in addition to skiing down, it is excellent exercise. Since there are no lift tickets, this is a cheaper sport than downhill skiing.


Water-skiing is a hot weather sport, where you stand on two skiis (one if you're especially skilled) and a boat pulls you across a lake or flat river. 







SLEDDING is where you sit on a sled; it's usually made of plastic, but some are made of wood and have metal runners, or blades. Unlike skiing, which is a competitive sport, sledding is usually done just for fun, and the only competition is seeing who can go down the hill fastest or go the farthest. Normally children go sledding, but sometimes parents go along for fun too. When I was a kid, I loved to go sledding on hills near our home in Roanoke, Virginia, and as parents, my wife and I enjoyed taking our kids sledding at a park near our home. We often sledded too, to get in the fun! (To see what else we do in the US on Snow Days, read this blog post.)


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Normally you sled down a small hill and walk back up, so there is no chairlift. Other than buying the sled, there are no other expenses.


In Alaska and Canada, dog sledding is a serious sport where a team of dogs carries the leader and gear over large distances. The Iditarod is an epic race  that covers 1,049 miles (1688 km), which honors Alaska's status as the 49th U.S. state.


 Another winter sport is snowboarding. (Chinese: 单板滑雪). This is like skiing, but it is done on one board, not two skiis. 



A SLEIGH is a vehicle that is on runners (blades) and is pulled by horses. Children in the US look for Santa and his sleigh filled with toys on Christmas Eve. In Santa's case, his sleigh is pulled by reindeer. Santa's sleigh is a popular Christmas decoration.


To make things more confusing, both nouns SLEIGH and SLED have the SAME Chinese translation, 雪橇 (Xuěqiāo), but they are actually different things. A sleigh is larger, can usually hold several people, and requires a large animal to pull it, while a sled is smaller, usually holds just one or two people, and only moves when it goes down a hill. 


To learn more about how we celebrate Christmas in the USA, read this blog post.  To read the Christmas story and see where this famous holiday comes from, read this post. 


So there you have it! Skiing and Sledding are the same in Chinese, but are different in English, and SLED and SLEIGH are also the same in Chinese, but different in English.


With, not only do you learn English, but you also learn about life in the USA! Contact me today to find out how you can join a class and improve your English!



Read 21865 times Last modified on Sunday, 24 December 2017 00:56
Scott Dreyer

A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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